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(04/21/2008) Koba The Dread: Laughter & The Twenty Million by Martin Amis. New York. 2002. Talk Miramax/Hyperion. keywords: Literature England Russia History Joseph Stalin Communism. 306 pages. jacket Design by DOYLE PARTNERS. Stalin Photograph HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES. cheka Badge Photograph courtesy of THE DAVID KING COLLECTION, LONDON. 0786868767. July 2002.

A memoir, a history, and a meditation on Stalin and his legacy.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   KOBA THE DREAD is the successor to Martin Amis's celebrated memoir, EXPERIENCE. It is largely political while remaining personal. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth-century thought: the indulgence of communism by intellectuals of the West. In between the personal beginning and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best 'short course ever in Stalin: Koba the Dread, Iosif the Terrible. The author's father, Kingsley Amis, though later reactionary in tendency, was 'a Comintern dogsbody' from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and then closest friend, was Robert Conquest, our leading Sovietologist, whose book of 1968, The Great Terror, was second only to Solzhenitsyn's THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO in undermining the USSR. Amis's remarkable memoir explores these connections. Stalin said that the death of one person was tragic, the death of a million a mere 'statistic. ' KOBA THE DREAD, during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin's aphorism.

MARTIN AMIS is the bestselling author of several books including LONDON FIELDS, MONEY, THE INFORMATION, EXPERIENCE, And THE WAR AGAINST CLICHE.

 

 

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